Jack Messitt
Midnight Movie
Chicago Horror Film Festival

 

Here are some recent comments about Midnight Movie:

Top 10: All Time Best Direct-to-DVD Horror Movies!

Midnight Movie is one of the best low-budget direct-to-DVD slasher picture yet made. It's shot on film and looks it (the opening scenes are striking to those used to the grainy, grimy video images found in this genre), and the acting is at least adequate. But the big difference is that this variation on the old 'let's watch this legendary horror film that is shrouded in mystery' is actually pretty scary. The murders are savage and violent, and the masked killer is actually frightening, both in appearance and behavior (he moves quickly and doesn't bother to toy with his victims). The narrative avoids the 'idiot plot' whenever possible and the pay-off is surprising, if somewhat illogical. This is simply a rock-solid, old-fashioned scary movie that happens to have debuted on DVD (and eventually Blu Ray).

The Huffington Post - Mendleson's Memos

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DVD of the Month: March 2009 - Perfect Fear Fare!

Perfect Fear Fare! Midnight Movie delivers the goods with solid craft and a sense of what it’s doing. Messitt stages the murders for maximum punch, and while he doesn’t flinch from the gory results, he doesn’t overstate the bloodshed either. There are genuine jolts to be had here, rather than simple gross-outs.

Fangoria Magazine

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5 out of 5 stars! - To say that this film is absolutely kick ass would be the understatement of the year!

Gorezone Magazine

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Top Ten: Examples of a Pulse in the Modern Slasher!

Fangoria.com

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Amazing! Midnight Movie is certainly one of the best indie films of the year.

CinemaFantastique.net

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Best Slasher of the Year – 2008
Top 70 Horror Movies of the Decade (2000-2009)

Skrin (Apresiasi Horror)

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Messitt has come up with a tasty little treat here.

All Movie Guide

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Beyond the villian himself, Messitt does an excellent job creating an atmosphere that oozes dread.

Blu-Ray.com

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Clearly the most original horror film I've seen this year! I'll watch this one many times in the years ahead!

HorrorNews.net

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What impressed me the most was the directorial debut of Jack Messitt. This guy obviously knows
his stuff.

Slasherpool.com

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The director Jack Messitt has mostly been a cinematographer until now, but he clearly has a great deal of talent as a writer/director. Jack: forget shooting stuff for American Idol, go and make more movies!

Quietearth.us

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The film delivers 80 minutes of jokes, jolts and jumps, and the technical specs are sharp.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Midnight Movie does everything right! Midnight Movie is a big accomplishment for Messitt and a great horror film.  It has the 1970’s feel, a good killer, an interesting story, and it was written very well. You can’t ask for much more than that. I highly recommend this one.

Scared Stiff Reviews

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A fun blood-fest. Midnight Movie exceeds its low budget with some fine imagination both in terms of storytelling and gore.

Bizarre Magazine

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Midnight Movie grabbed me in the first five minutes... It’s hip, and self aware... Definitely 2 hours of good clean gruesome fun... I enjoyed the hell out of this film.

Collider.com

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Now here comes a good independent horror flick... Directing is phenomenal and you can see that the Jack Messitt is a very talented director.

Rabbit Reviews

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A great début for this director... One of the most memorable slashers of 2008, excellently directed!

Conemule.com

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A gory and fast-paced good time! Packed with great kills by a frightening new villain!

Johnny Butane, DreadCentral.com

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This film is a true modern day horror classic. Midnight Movie brings an instantly iconic slasher to the big screen, the likes of which could go toe to toe with both Jason and Freddy. Each chilling thrill builds into an unexpected climax. Midnight Movie is a Gut Punch of Cinema that truly lives up to his name in cult horror. A horrifying treat for gore hounds and old school horror fans alike.

Movieweb.com

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A refreshingly original horror movie.

Distopia Magazine

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Too much fun to ignore.

TheVideoGraveyard.com

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I believe that Director Jack Messitt’s directorial debut was a smashing success!

HorrorSociety.com

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An entertaining, rollercoaster-spookhouse-ride of a film.

Examiner.com

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Horror fans will find that the film delivers the goods. A solid horror movie that deserved a wider release, Midnight Movie should enjoy a long shelf life in video rental stores.

ESplatter.com

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Midnight Movie is the kind of low-budget delight that doesn’t seem to come along nearly often enough.

TheHorrorGeek.com

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The best original horror movie I've seen since Saw. It will get a hold of you and put you through the ringer.

Graveyardshow.com

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Review – Fatally-Yours.com

Cult or midnight movies are usually not known or recognized by mainstream audiences for good reason. They are usually the anti-thesis of the big, glossy Hollywood blockbusters. Midnight movies are usually gritty, subversive films catering to underground audiences who are looking for something different than the same old big-name flicks the studios peddle. Though most of the time these films have low budgets, they make up for that in heart and soul. Midnight movies let the audience experience something more than what studio films offer. They have that something extra that pushes the envelope, whether their aim is to disgust, titillate, awe or just plain have fun!

To put it plainly, midnight movies hold a special place in many a fan’s heart, no matter how cheap, cheesy or sleazy they are. So when I sat down to watch a film called “Midnight Movie” after our beloved cult flicks, I was a bit skeptical that it could deliver the goods. The synopsis did sound promising, though. From the box:

“At a run-down theater in a sleepy suburban town, a group of friends attend the midnight screening of a 1970’s cult horror film. These unsuspecting teenagers are unaware that the director and star of the movie made a bloody escape from a psych ward five years earlier and may still be on the loose.

As the midnight movie begins, the kids heckle the old black-and-white scenes. But they are jolted when the killer butchers one of their friends…on screen! They soon realize that the killing is not a prank. They are locked inside the theater and the killer from the movies is after them! Caught between reality and the screen’s flickering shadows, are they becoming the unwilling stars of the very horror movie they are watching?"

If that doesn ’t peak a horror fan’s interest, I don’t know what will! Much to my delight and utter fascination, Midnight Movie pays homage to the cult film while at the same time creating a completely original story. Along with the original plot, the film boasts likable characters, enough twists to keep things interesting and a very scary killer! I was blown away by how quickly I was sucked into the world of Midnight Movie and once there I didn’t want to leave!

First off, the film looks absolutely amazing! I’m not sure what the budget was, but the film is so clean, crisp and professional-looking that it could be put in theaters tomorrow and no one would bat an eyelash! The production values are extremely high, including the direction, cinematography and editing.

The direction, by Jack Messitt (who also wrote the script) is tight and shows us the story exactly how it was meant to be seen. I never felt like I was missing anything and everything was shown just enough to titillate without going overboard. I also loved how the film’s style switched from the colorful, modern day point-of-view to the film-within-a-film’s point of view of a gritty ‘70s, black and white horror flick.

As the modern-day world and the horror-film world begin to collide, we the audience understand that this is no standard slasher, but a highly original script, penned by Jack Messitt. Messitt weaves supernatural elements into the story that tie everything together and make the story very unique. There are echoes of other films, like Demons (being stuck in a theater with no way out), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the ‘70s style midnight movie is very reminiscent of the seminal TCM), Ringu (with the idea that a supernatural force is able to get you even through a television/movie screen) as well as being influenced by many slasher films. These familiar styles are reconfigured in a new, unique way and combined with an original story had me glued to the screen for the entire running time!

The characters are also developed adequately enough (without sacrificing the quick clip of the pacing) that the audience can sympathize with them. I did feel that the girls were a bit stereotypical (why is it always the girls in movies who don’t like scary movies?), but that’s a small quibble compared with the overall achievement of the film. Messitt even managed to create a new icon of horror with his spooky, skull-mask wearing psycho killer. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Even the acting, which I can usually find some fault in, especially in independent productions, was top-notch, with every single one of the actors delivering big time. Even the actors who didn’t get that much screen time did a commendable job with their characters. Let’s put it this way, if I began mentioning names, I would have to go down the entire cast list to credit every single actor for a brilliant performance.

Now, I know you are all wondering about the blood and guts in the film, but first I must mention the iconic tool of terror that the killer does his dirty deeds with. It’s a razor sharp hand drill that must be seen to be believed! With this device of destruction the killer leaves some nicely bloody and gaping holes in his victims. Despite the killer weapon, don’t expect loads of gore in this film…it is restrained, but with good reason. The audience is teased with the kills in the beginning and much is left to the imagination (which is the preferred method, if you ask me). As the body count mounts, though, things begin to escalate and get bloodier and bloodier. There is a very rich scene featuring a human slaughterhouse of sorts where the killer stores all his victims. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

I gotta say, Midnight Movie blew me away with its smart, engaging script and the iconic horror movie villain we’ve all been waiting for! It certainly lives up to its moniker and is certain to make midnight cult movie fans very happy! For me, Midnight Movie is definitely one of the best films I’ve seen all year!